After watching patients closely, I can tell you emphatically that at our Slidell dentistry care center, we see basically 2 major patterns with regard to how our patients handle the aging process relative to their teeth. One group will seek care only when something happens and their future is unpredictable and oftentimes ends with, at best, a lifetime of constant repair and frustration, and for many, the loss of their teeth, in spite of visiting the dentist every 6 months for their lifetime. The other group at some point stops, steps back, makes an assessment of where they are (a comprehensive exam), becomes clear on what they want for their mouths in their later years, hears the choices available to get what they want, and systematically moves their oral health to a place that allows them to literally stop their mouths from aging.
All radiation is harmful. It is the amount of radiation we get, the frequency, and the duration that determines how harmful this technology is to us. In dentistry, we weigh the risks versus the benefits to our patients. The newer x-ray units are now digital and have greatly reduced the radiation to our patients. The use of the Cone Beam CT (CBCT) has allowed us to replace the Full Mouth Survey (20 to 24 separate x-rays) with one single exposure. Additionally, a CBCT machine produces a 3-dimensional image, which allows much more accurate visualization of the teeth and surrounding structures. We never take x-rays to generate additional fees. We take the least amount of exposures to show what we need to examine, and always have discussions with patients before prescribing their use.
While we are not “in-network” with any plans, we do file claims with your insurance company to help you get the most from your annual benefits. We require payment in full at the time services are rendered, and then work with your insurance company to help them reimburse you directly. The front office staff can share with you the intricacies as to how we handle insurance claims and benefits. We belong to no plans. Our obligation is to our patients and no one or entity will dictate to us what we recommend to our patients. Aside from the New Patient Experience (comprehensive exam), most of the time we are able to send a “pre-determination” request to your insurance company to assess what portion of the proposed treatment they will cover so that you know what your overall out-of-pocket cost will be.
This is a question we have been getting a lot lately, and the reality is there is no one simple answer. Making a blanket statement that “all root canals are bad”, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, being completely dismissive of the concerns one might have about health effects of root canals, is a real disservice to those who are trying to make good decisions that are consistent with their own personal health goals and values. Our goal is to educate you about the risks and benefits of every option and allow you to make the treatment decision. The truth is that the answer to the root canal question is complex, and specific to the patient. If we were to adopt the belief that “all root canals are bad”, and that we should remove all teeth with root canals, what happens to the person who has 4 or more root canals? And then when we remove those root canal teeth, we are then faced with more difficult decisions... do we leave spaces in the mouth and allow the bite to shift over time? Do we replace with implants (which carry their own risk)? Do we cut down the teeth adjacent to the missing teeth for the fabrication of a bridge? Removable partial denture? What are the financial implications of each? How many visits? Can the patient tolerate long appointments for any of these appointments? Will fear and anxiety be a major factor? Each decision bears its own unique risk/benefit analysis, which is revealed through clinical examination and imaging. Our state-of-the-art Ultra-Low Dose Cone Beam CT (CBCT) machine captures a detailed 3-D image of the teeth and their surrounding structures, so that detection of root canal infections is greatly increased.
Yes, I am a TMJ dentist that has studied the chewing system and its effect on the quality of patients’ lives. I am amazed at how many different ways this malady can manifest itself among my patients. There is a particular place that the jaw joints should be, and when the muscles cannot position the joints in that place (because the teeth don’t fit that jaw position), a myriad of symptoms can ensue…headaches, neck aches, ringing of the ears, popping noises in front of the ears, loss of hearing, vertigo (loss of balance), severe wear of the teeth, erosions at the necks of the teeth, splitting of teeth, loosening of teeth, large bony growths around the teeth, and many more.
As a TMJ dentist, I have found that the key is a clear diagnosis of what is going on within the chewing system and what seems to be the cause of the disharmony.